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Old 12-29-2021, 04:30 PM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 361

I’m sure that Steve will provide a full explanation! What I have taken from it, in my own archtop playing, is a very different technique than most flattop players use with a pick.

You don’t strike the string so much as “push through it”—it creates less “static” and string noise, but pulls out the mids. Same with developing a tremolo—you practice keeping a high speed at low volume, so you are in full control of the dynamics.

Done properly, both techniques allow the archtop to deliver a super-fast response, so useful in jazz playing, while rounding out the hard edges. Notes are more like “blips” that present quickly but get out of the way of each other. Chords are punchy, often four to the bar used to drive rhythm, rather than symphonies of overtones like with some flattop playing.

Of course these are all generalizations, and the very best archtop instruments—such as Monteleones, D’Aquistos, and exceptional early Gibson L-5s—excel at nearly any playing style.
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